Age caught up witih Jenny Jones but considering her bizarre life that’s to be expected. When Jenny was growing up she was the frequent target of bullies in her Catholic school.
Her parents (seriously) ridiculed her for being “flat-chested” and later Jenny got breast implants that had to be removed due to medical complications. Jenny talked about her experience with breast implants as a guest on another talk show and wrote about it in her biography as incentive to young women to avoid them.
Jenny was a singer and actress before she hit the stupid daytime talk show scene. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Television. The show had a 12-year run from September 1991 to September 2003. At first it imitated the Oprah approach except Jenny didn’t gain any weight. The Jenny Jones Show delivered crap ratings the first two seasons, and by 1993 it became trashy, just what the public liked. Paternity tests, out-of-control teens, confronting former bullies, makeovers for clueless people, celebrity impersonators, talent contests, and parents who entered pageants by proxy by pushing their children into pageants (maybe that’s where Toddlers and Tiaras originated), feuding neighbors, strippers, secret crushes and any other circus-like theme producers could dream up. Class act, that show.
Critics often compared Jenny Jones to The Jerry Springer Show although Jenny claimed her show was not as bezerk as Jerry Springer. I’m inclined to agree with her. No one smashed a chair over anyone else’s head on Jenny Jones… although if they had the show would still be running. Critics also believe that Ricki Lake copied some of Jenny’s ideas after The Ricki Lake Show debuted in 1993 and surpassed Jenny’s ratings. Tsk, tsk. How sneaky. Rosie O’Donnell and Jenny Jones were quite catty with each other after Rosie debuted The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Oddly they were both friends of Ricky Lake and sent “shout-outs” (whatever that is) to Ricky’s show. Jenny’s themes seemed to appear on Maury, in particular DNA testing. The show used titles that were over the top for example, “You May Shake It for Money, But Leave Those Sexy Clothes at the Club, Honey!” (dear god) to describe a sexy makeover show for women strippers.
That’s where it gets tawdry.
And tragic. Truly.
On March 6, 1995, Jenny taped an episode called “Same Sex Secret Crushes“ . Scott Amedure, a gay man, confessed to his friend Jonathan Schmitz, that he had a crush on him. Jonathan laughed in front of the audience but three days later he killed Scott. After the murder made headlines, the producers decided not to air the show (that was good of them) but it aired on Court TV when the network covered the trial. Jonathan’s history of mental illness and substance abuse were discovered during Scott’s murder trial. Jonathan was convicted of second degree murder, and sentenced from 25 to 50 years in prison.
Scott’s family sued Jenny Jones and the show’s producers for neglecting to find out Jonathan’s history. Jenny testified under oath that the producers told Jonathan that his admirer could be a man, but Jonathan thought it was a woman. Um, yeah we believe you. In fact the producers didn’t want Jonathan to know the gender of his secret crush. The family won the ruling (good for them) and the show was ordered to pay $25 million, (even better) but that was overturned in appellate court (boo) since the producers weren’t responsible for their guests after the show. What a load of crap. Scott Amedure would still be alive if it weren’t for Jenny Jones. That’s America’s justice system for you.
That’s when the show and Jenny’s career took a serious nosedive (and rightly so). In the final two seasons, the show’s ratings dropped. In the 2002-2003 TV season, Jenny’s program became the lowest-rated daytime talk show, and it was axed in the summer of 2003. Reruns continued to air until September 12, 2003.
We hope not
Comeback Grade: P for Pay retribution to the Amedure family already
Jenny Jones’ Facebook Fans: Who cares?